RCMS students and staff have mixed feelings on new three-year calendar


Seventh-grader Alara Krause points at the school calendar.

Emma Mazur, Writer

Fairfax County School Board released a new three-year calendar in February in hopes of recognizing diversity among students and staff. The calendar includes more holidays and cultural observances.

Changes were made to the calendar which included: 15 teacher/professional work days, more recognition of different cultures and alignment of holidays with surrounding counties. The 2022 school year had less holidays than the 2023 school year.

“I don’t like all the days we get off randomly, I want holidays to be later in the year so I can get more summer days. I don’t like holidays every week, they just add on to the summer,”  said Caroline Ivey, a seventh-grader on Discovery.  “I want school to end earlier towards the summer so I can go to the pool.”

Fairfax County School Board made days like Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Orthodox, Good Friday, and Diwali into holidays. Now students and staff don’t have to take the day off.

“This was the first time in my whole life that I got my holidays off — I didn’t need to take off work,” said Ms. Lina Hashem, a journalism teacher at RCMS. “I think it’s amazing.”

FCPS sent out a survey asking for seventh- to eleventh-graders’ input on the calendar and later asked for opinions on the development. More than 78,000 students, staff, and community members participated in the survey. Staff and students’ absence data was put into consideration and helped shape the calendar. The FCPS team wanted to keep their commitment of academic excellence, equality, opportunity, and diversity.

“I like the new calendar because it includes other people, there’s more Indian and Jewish holidays. Students get to learn about more holidays, but we have a longer school year,” said Arianna Das, a seventh-grader on Legacy. 

According to the FCPS Calendar Highlights most students didn’t favor losing any holidays or switching  one to two in-person days to virtual days. According to the survey, 44% of parents/guardians didn’t mind taking days off of Spring Break while 48% didn’t mind taking days off of Winter Break; meanwhile, 55% of parents/guardians were willing to switch two days to virtual.

“I wouldn’t take any days off of breaks, they’re short enough already,” Ruth Kwon, a seventh-grader on Mavericks said. “I like my long breaks.”

Like last year, FCPS added days for snow days. After all the snow days were used, unscheduled virtual days would be added. During the 2023 school year, zero snow days were used.

“I would keep them built in,” said Mrs. Walsh, a seventh-grade Dream Team science teacher, “but if the snow days weren’t used then we would have the days off. I understand that parents with kids need daycare but no other profession does this.”